Photo credit: Don Cook , 12/2002

Property Name: Cumberland YMCA
Date Listed: 9/26/1997
Inventory No.: AL-IV-A-151
Location: 205, Baltimore Avenue, Cumberland, Allegany County

Description: The Cumberland YMCA building is a wedge-shaped brick building, three stories with a partially raised basement. Built in 1925, the facility displays some simple neoclassical styling. The YMCA consists of two sections: The forward and more formal triangular section and a three-story rear section housing the pool and gymnasium. The narrow "point" of the building faces south, and the principal entrance is in the west facade which faces toward the center of Cumberland. Walls are constructed of Flemish bond brick, with brick jack arches and keystones above the windows, and corbeled arches surrounding windows along the first story of the west facade of the rear extension. The cornice and coping atop the brick parapets appear to be of copper, oxidized. The building is three to four stories high with an above-ground basement in most areas, but higher toward the south portion of the building, accommodating the sloping terrain. The west facade has 17 bays across the front an rear portions of the building. The narrow south elevation has three bays. Most windows have 6/6 light sash, although there are other types, such as 12/12, most notably, groups of 8-light casement windows which are paired or grouped and give the appearance of French doors. These are located at the main level of the forward or south section of the building. The roof is flat and covered with tar and chip. The interior of the YMCA contains a reception room, meeting room, dining room and kitchen, executive offices, pool and gym, and residential rooms on the upper two stories. Some of the residential rooms on the second floor have been converted into a family center and day care facility. The entrance areas, lobby, "board" room, and main floor corridors are finished with Mercer tile with decorative borders. In most rooms on the main floor, wood paneled wainscoting extends approximately five feet up the wall. In the board room, a meeting room in the south end of the building, a projecting bay with French windows follows the exterior elliptical projecting bay. The entrance to the projecting area is enframed by a dark-stained paneled and molded lintel supported at each side by a fluted column. An ample molded cornice defines the perimeter of the room. Another notable space is the former library now serving as executive offices. Bookshelves are located behind leaded glass doors and trimmed with naturally finished wooden architraves. A fireplace is located in an alcove in the south end of the room. The front of the fireplace is covered with square tiles and a naturally finished wooden architrave and mantel shelf.

Significance: The Cumberland YMCA building is significant for its architectural character: built in 1925, the YMCA is an excellent example of institutional architecture of its time, representing the academic classicism that characterized such buildings in the period. The building derives additional significance for its testament to the YMCA as a community institution in Cumberland. The YMCA was established in Cumberland in 1873 and was situated at various locations prior to construction of the present building; this building has been home to the YMCA longer than any other place in Cumberland. At the time of its construction, it offered the only indoor swimming pool in the Cumberland area.




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